Katrina Leung

Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia shares an insightful interview with Travel And Tour World. Read on.

Travel And Tour World – How different will be Asia’s Leading Travel Trade Show this year compared to its previous shows?

Katrina Leung: Every year ITB Asia – Asia’s Leading Travel Trade Show – aims to provide visitors with the latest insights and practical knowledge on the travel industry. ITB Asia 2016 is expected to be the biggest and most exciting edition yet as we continue to forge new partnerships and connect our delegates to hundreds of companies from MICE, corporate and leisure companies across the globe.

This instalment, we have further strengthened our industry connections through new collaborations and partnerships with travel leaders across the value chain, with a particularemphasis on the growing sectors of innovation and travel technology.

Each dayof the show will kick-off with a keynote session that addresses a key industry trend. The opening keynote panel on day one will include senior representatives from both Google and Facebook, who will highlight the growing synergies between these digital platforms and the travel sector.On the second day, in partnership with MasterCard, delegates willbe able to garner valuable insights from a panel of experts representing leading Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) including Expedia, while we will be welcoming speakers fromleading Chinese corporations including Ctrip and Tuniu for the keynote on day three.

We have already announced many new partnerships this year, including our inaugural MICE Day and our collaborations with industry heavyweights such as Society for Incentive Travel excellence (SITE) and Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisations and Suppliers (SACEOS). Another notable addition to this year’s show is ITB Asia’s first Halal in Travel – Asia Summit 2016 in partnership with CresentRating. As the world’s leading authority on halal travel, they will be able to provide in-depth insights on the booming halal tourism sector.




Travel And Tour World – Who are the new buyers and exhibitors in ITB Asia 2016?

Katrina Leung: As a hybrid show, ITB Asia welcomes representatives from a full spectrum of tourism companies at all levels including the hospitality sector, aviation companies, travel agencies, National Tourism Organisations, travel technology firms, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and corporate travel representatives. This year, we look forward to welcoming new exhibitors including Tamilnadu and Odisha, as well as returning exhibitors including India Tourism and IBS Software from India.

In 2015 the event recorded close to 760 exhibitors and 880 buyers from all around the world. The show also attracted almost 10,300trade delegates and set up over 16,000 matched meetings.We are currently working to finalise the number of buyers and exhibitors at this year’s show, but are confident that ITB Asia will continue to be a leading global platform for all delegates and this year’s numbers are set to grow.



Travel And Tour World: ITB Asia has the tradition of hosting ‘dedicated MICE Day’. How has been the response so far from the industry leaders about attending the day event?

Katrina Leung: The MICE industry has become an increasingly important sector over past decade, with huge growth potential, especially within Asia. In response to growing demand to learn more about the sector and to help shine a spotlight on the wide range of business opportunities out there,ITB Asia has expanded its MICE programme this year, dedicating an entire day to bringing delegates up to speed on the latest happenings and upcoming trends.

Response to the dedicated MICE day has been overwhelmingly positive to-date, as we have partnered with many leaders with the sectorto develop content including SITE, SACEOS and Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP). This year’s programme will see in-depth and insightful conference sessions tailored towards understanding the needs of MICE customers, as well as workshops where delegates can put what they have learnt into action. For example, SITE will explore how a strong culture or service can impact the success of incentive travel management, while also outlining practical solutions to planning incentive travel programmes.



Travel And Tour World: How do you think the collaboration with leading medical and travel security services firm will make a difference?

Katrina Leung: In June this year we announced International SOS (ISOS)as our first-ever official Medical and Security Travel Partner. This new partnership demonstrates our efforts to include even more sectors of the travel industry into our three-day programme, incorporating all levels of the value chain to provide a comprehensive experience for all attendees.

As part of our agreement, ISOS will help to educate delegates on the importance of mitigating risks of business travel.The travel industry is particularly sensitive to economic, political and medical conditions, and these sessions will help to prepare our delegates to better manage any potential incidents by sharing global best practices.ISOS will also be onsite throughout the show to help provide medical and security assistance if required.



Travel And Tour World: Will Corporate Social Responsibility be discussed and practised by ITB Asia? What steps will it follow?

Katrina Leung: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important of the past decade, becoming an essential part of a company’s corporate identity, affecting both public perception as well as its bottom line. Within the travel sector, the growth of CSR also provides great opportunities for companies looking to promote responsible and sustainable tourism.

As a leading platform for thought leaders to share best practices across the entire travel industry, ITB Asia 2016 will holddedicated CSR sessions on the second and third day of the show. In collaboration with Wild Asia, a not-for-profit enterprise which helps to educate consumers and businesses on how to leave a positive footprint on the developing world, these sessions will discuss standards of sustainable tourism, share success case studies, inspire better storytelling, and provide tools and applications in achieving sustainability.

ITB Asia also undertakes a range of measures to ensure it is a sustainable event. Beyond promoting a paperless media centre, using re-usable signage and placing dedicated recycling bins throughout the venue, it works closely with its official Hotel partner Marina Bay Sands to reduce the show’s carbon footprint.



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